Friday, July 19, 2013

A Year of Biblical Womanhood: January-July

"Now, I've got nothing against aluminum poles, sex outdoors, "sacred stripping", and that sort of thing, but you should be able to tell your spouse that you'd like to try it in the backyard without insisting your instructions come directly from God. Poems were never meant to be forced into commands." (pg. 112) (emphasis mine)

Oh, Christian sexuality. We like to do this thing where we confuse descriptive with prescriptive. We also like to do this thing where we don't really understand what's being described, so it gets kinda messy. And not in the good way.

"Both Jesus and Paul spoke highly of celibacy and singleness, and for centuries the Church honored the contributions of virgins and widows to the extent that their stories occupied the majority of Christian literature." (pg. 179)

We have this narrative in the Church that behind every great man there's a great woman, that it is the role of men to be great and to do great things, and it is the role of women to support them in their accomplishments. Men are to go forth and do great things, and women are to have a clean house and warm meal waiting for them when they return.

But the Bible has a LOT to say about how great it is to never get married. So if men can do great things either married or single, but women have to be someone's wife in order to achieve something great, we are left with two options: men have multiple wives, or women marry each other.

For the first, while it is Biblical, it's mostly been rejected. But if we're talking about Biblical roles for men and women, i guess i can't really stop you. You just have to move to Utah.

For the second, it's a little dicey. I mean, here you have two women, married to each other, making their home an absolutely perfect haven of domestic bliss: clean, orderly, well-managed, with three hot meals a day and never any quarreling or bitterness or discontent or jealousy or anything. Just two happy, domestic, virtuous women being perfect wives to one another. They may not be preaching sermons or writing books or running businesses or ministering to the heathens in foreign lands, but they can certainly feed and clothe the the poor, and they can make their home open to those who need a place to stay, and those are all important Biblical things, too. In fact, hospitality is one of the things the Bible talks about the most. Definitely way more than homosexuality. Really, if you think about it, being a married lesbian is pretty much the highest calling there could be for a Christian woman.

Or, you know, maybe women can be allowed to accomplish things outside of the house and can even be praised for and encouraged in those accomplishments. "As a Christian, my highest calling is not motherhood; my highest calling is to follow Christ." (pg. 180)

"Traditionally, readers of the text have assumed that Jesus called the (Samaritan woman at the well) out on her loose morals, confronting the aberrant nature of her sexual history in order to convict her of her sin. But such a confident interpretation reveals a certain level of bias, for John never actually revealed the reason why the Samaritan woman had five husbands. It is just as plausible, therefore, to assume that her marital history was a tragic one -- women were not permitted to initiate divorce at that time, after all -- and that Jesus sought to acknowledge the difficult set of circumstances facing a woman in first-century Palestine. She may have been a concubine or a slave, which would explain why the man she was with was not her husband." (pg. 199)

The story of the Samaritan woman was an important one for me in coming to terms with my own sexuality, so i was very pleased to see an interpretation of her story that gives her a little more grace.

"In the biblical narrative, hierarchy enters human relationship as part of the curse, and begins with man's oppression of women -- "your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you" (Genesis 3:16). But with Christ, hierarchical relationships are exposed for the sham that they are, as the last are made first, the first are made last, the poor are blessed, the meek inherit the earth, and the God of the universe takes the form of a slave.

"Women should not have to pry equality from the grip of Christian men. It should be surrendered willingly, with the humility and love of Jesus, or else we miss the once radical teaching that slaves and masters, parents and children, husbands and wives, rich and poor, healthy and sick, should "submit to one another" (Ephesians 5:21)."

*slow clap*

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